Data Visualization & Geospatial Tools
NREL's Geospatial Data Science Team has developed tools that allow users to apply these data. These tools help determine things such as how much electricity can be produced from solar systems on a house or what renewable resources are available in a specific areas.
Please visit http://maps.nrel.gov/ for the most current list of available NREL's GIS tools.
If you have difficulty using these tools because of a disability, please contact the Webmaster.
Access RE Atlas, Solar Power Prospector, PVWatts®, and other popular tools that dynamically generate maps of renewable energy resources.
Easily search our collection of maps created by the GIS team. Please use the search box and the filters on the left and right of the screen to limit results.
Find renewable energy resources in the United States and illustrates the geographic distribution of wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass resources, as well as other pertinent information.
Use NREL's geospatial toolkit to visualize solar and wind resource data in 13 developing countries. Contact Dan Getman for more information.
Conduct geographically-based analysis of U.S. biomass resources (e.g., crop residues and wood) and potential biofuels production from these resources.
Conduct geographically-based analysis of U.S. biomass resources (e.g., crop residues and wood) and potential power production from these resources.
Federal Management Program (FEMP)
Examine the viability of three solar technologies in the United States at the state and federal level.
Examine, distribute, and analyze geothermal resources and identify sites for geothermal development.
View, download, and analyze hydrogen data spatially and dynamically. HyDRA contains hydrogen demand, resource, infrastructure, cost, production, and distribution data.
Conduct quick, intuitive analysis and visualization of the technical potential, economic opportunity, and market size for solar technologies ranging from residential rooftop systems to utility-scale installations.
A collaborative effort between government, industry, and the public to compile a comprehensive database of photovoltaic (PV) installation data for the United States. Data for the project are voluntarily contributed from a variety of sources including utilities, installers, and the general public. The project also provides a variety of visualization applications.
Access via a public interface some of the photovoltaic performance data contributed to NREL.
Estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. There is a help document available as part of this tool.
- PVWatts® India In the fall of 2013, NREL released the PVWatts® Calculator for India, the first country-specific PVWatts® Calculator for locations outside of the United States. There is a help document available as part of this tool.
- PVWatts® Viewer (PVWatts® Viewer will not be supported after 2014). For information and help on this tool, PVWatts® FAQ.
- PVWatts® v.1 (PVWatts® V.1 will not be supported after 2014). For information and help on this tool PVWatts® FAQ.
Estimate the performance of hypothetical residential and small commercial PV installations.
Examine, distribute, and analyze solar resource data for the United States and northern Mexico to select optimal locations for CSP plants.
Find alternative fueling stations, discover where alternative fuel vehicles are concentrated, and explore alternative fuel production facilities.
Explore wave energy resources and ocean thermal energy conversions for all U.S. coastlines and includes Alaska and Hawaii.
Visualize data and analyze the potential of the tidal ocean energy resource.
Visualize data and analyze the potential for wind energy.
Software and Data Downloads
The Geospatial Toolkit (GsT) is an NREL-developed map-based software application that provides the tools and data necessary to perform renewable energy resource assessments, targeted primarily to developing countries. The GsT enables exploration and simple analysis of renewable potential without expertise in GIS:
- You can view solar and wind data and overlay roads, transmission lines, land use and elevation. You can zoom in and out and move all around exploring the renewable energy opportunities for a country.
- You can run queries that will calculate the land area meeting your criteria, such as minimum resource values, proximity to infrastructure, and restricted land use and slope characteristics.
- You can click on a location and the underlying resource values will be used to develop a HOMER file which can be used to simulate systems that will meet the loads of pre-designed off-grid loads. These files can also be used in the full version of HOMER for more sophisticated users. The application is only available on Windows platforms.
Users can also access free GIS software to view our GIS data. The ArcGIS Explorer software can be downloaded at no charge from their site.
Here are instructions for using it with NREL's GIS data:
Go to the ArcGIS Explorer site and download and install the free ArcGIS Explorer software.
Launch ArcGIS Explorer and go to Map, Add Content, GIS Services and Create a New Connection with ArcGIS Server (Server type = ArcGIS Server).
In the Server box, type in http://gisatnrel.nrel.gov/ArcGIS/Services. Note: We will stop supporting these GIS services in 2015.
Expand the files to see what datasets are currently available and click on the data you want to add. Accept the defaults and the data set will be added.
Or, if you have downloaded some of the NREL GIS shapefiles, you can also bring them into ArcGIS Explorer using the Map, Add Content, Shapefiles option. You will not be able to classify the information, but you can select which field you would like visible by right-clicking on the content and setting the layer properties.
Use the online help tool available with the download for further information on how to use ArcGIS Explorer.
A variety of services (WFS, WMF, TMS, WMS-C, and WMTs) are available from NREL's Mapservices site.